By Peregrino Brimah
Adare say, I was stunned the Major General mentioned “Baga.” Did Baga happen or did it not happen? Is the military saying the media should not have reported Baga? Or what exactly is he saying? Did we not see the hundreds of burned homes in Baga in the aerial photos? Are we meant to keep silent when the military kills more and destroys more than the terrorists do? Must pride be protected to our death and with our blood, being killed by our own military? Is this what Major General Olukolade demands of us? In that case, to blazes with the pride. What we want is professionalism. What we want is responsibility. Pride comes to those who deserve it. Nigerians were and are ashamed of the Baga massacre and incendiarism of April 2013. There is nothing to be prideful about in that and nothing for the media to suppress.
What we now must ask is: is General Olukolade all of a sudden a paid PDP publicist? What and why comes this report nineteen days short of the month to the Presidential elections? His report as full not of concessions and admissions of malfunctions of the Nigerian military and government in properly directing a war that could and should well have taken better turns; but in defending the hapless conduct of the current administration in executing the war; going as far as defending the Federal government spending which I believe is not the duty of a Military spokesperson like himself. When did it become the duty of the military PRO to explain that the Jonathan government rather chose how to feed millions than to equip the military for this battle? Can Major General Olukolade substantiate his position to the media with facts and figures? Can the General defend the distribution of billions of dollars worth of Nigerian military base land in Abuja to his defense chiefs and explain how this feeds the people as against supporting the military? Can Major General Olukolade justify the expenditure of over 18 billion dollars so for in the “war against Boko Haram?” Can Major General Olukolade prove to us when and how this government has fed its poor, except when stomach infrastructure is disbursed ahead of elections?
It is scary to have a military that should focus on defining how it is conducting a war against terror, spending its time joining in political bickering. It is pathetic to read the General comparing the crisis within the territory of Nigeria and initially isolated to the confines of a jungle, before it was allowed by military treachery to escape and conquer dozens of local governments, to the ISIS crises as he did, which has been determined by several regional and global players who openly gave these terrorists weapons and territory from where to wage a war against Syria before they turned these arms and territory against Iraq. To even dare to make such comparison with intention to bamboozle and blind the people of Nigeria and global recipients of his lecture is an offense that should otherwise be treasonable.
No insurgency should ever be possible to arise within a state and to escalate to the proportions Boko Haram has if there is a figment of a military in that nation. As Abacha is quoted to have said, there is no insurgency that lasts more than 24 hours, but the government has a hand in it.
Without threatening him, the Major General’s days as a military officer are getting quite numbered. Perhaps soon he will be the writer that he was cut out to be; and a part of the media and media only. Perhaps then we will see the best of him; because he has failed to impartially represent Nigeria through its military as a serviceman to the State but first to the people.
The Nigerian military should either do its job, or step aside and allow the brave Nigerian citizens who have demonstrated capacity and patriotism; to do it for us. It is time the military seizes to be a tool utilized for politics, terror and torture, but returns to be that proud force that General MuhammaduBuhari lead to recapture Nigeria’s 19 Islands from the Habre Chadian forces; that proud and skilled force that led ECOMOG to restore peace to Liberia.
Today the Nigerian military is a force only and most efficiently capable of surrounding and protecting Ali Modu Sheriff when he makes his PDP party political pilgrimages through the roads of Borno. And this is the truth that Olukolade must contend with. Concluded
Dr. Peregrino Brimah can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @EveryNigerian